Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Israel to Expel Tourists Who Support the Palestinian Cause | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55356055

BDS protesters in Italy. (AFP/Vincenzo Pinto)

Tel Aviv – Israeli government, represented by Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Minister of Interior Affairs Aryeh Deri, has decided to establish a taskforce to identify and expel tourists who support an international boycott of Israel.

The panel is tasked with collecting data on activists suspected of supporting the boycott movement and who visit Palestine.

The ministers spoke of few hundreds of activists who frequently come to Palestine to express their support. They cross over through the Israeli borders and then return to their countries in Europe or USA and organize Israeli boycott rallies.

Israeli law grants the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration a wide range of authorities which allow it to ban citizens from entering Israel and expel foreigners.

The government gathered information about the activists who support international boycott of Israel to assess their situation.

A high-ranking official who was present at the session of the two ministers said that members of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs pointed out that dozens of organizations are active in the West Bank under a variety of umbrellas that are working to gather information about the activities of the Israeli army.

According to the official, activists use the information they gathered to advance a boycott against Israel.

During the meeting, police officers claimed that boycott activists frequently come to the area and agitate the local residents against security forces and disrupt the activity of the security forces.

Assessments revealed that hundreds of the foreign activists enter to Israel through Ben Gurion Airport or Allenby Bridge on tourists’ visas. Some leave afterwards, while others stay in Palestine with many of them belonging to Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

A high ranking official declared that it is not clear yet whether there is a legal necessity to gather information about each activist alone, or the whole organizations and thus every member of that organization is subject to expulsion.

The official refused to name the organizations but it was clear he meant BDS movement whose members are in West Bank. He added that both ministers Erdan and Deri stressed that there is no intention of expel every foreign activist or member of human rights organizations, but they want to focus on foreign citizens who are known to have come to Israel to support boycott movements.

Meanwhile, Israeli sources expressed its fears that Anglican Americans doesn’t support Israel as before.

Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy Ministry Director-General Sima Vaknin-Gil spoke of international delegitimization of Israel as a threat to the state.

“The bottom line is that today, among nations of the world, Israel is seen as a pariah state. Our goal is that by 2025, no one will question whether the State of Israel has the right to exist.”

“There is a strategic competition between us and our opponent,” she said referring to the BDS movement. “We are moving from restraining and responding to initiating and attacking.”

“From my point of view, success will be a change in the narrative about Israel in the world. That the narrative in the world won’t be that Israel equals apartheid,” she said.